Counting Birds a Christmas Tradition 100-Plus Years Strong

There are many Christmas traditions, but one that is especially beloved by people who love birds is the annual Christmas Bird Count. It began in 1900 as an alternative to the tradition of a Christmas Day hunt. The counts occur between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5.

This year throughout the western hemisphere, an estimated tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate. 

Joining host Phil Ponce to discuss the tradition is Joel Greenberg, an ornithologist who has been counting birds on Christmas since 1967 and running several Christmas Bird Counts for 30 years. He is also the author of “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction.”

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Find a Christmas Bird Count near you.

Browse a map of Christmas Bird Counts:


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